Welcome to the Ark and the Tent, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, September 18, based on Exodus 25-31, 35-40. You can find the script on p.81-86 in the orange book (The Complete Guide to Godly Play, Vol 2, 14 Presentations for Fall, by Jerome W. Berryman).

Children always get so excited about this story. They love the little pieces belonging to the tent, I think partly because each piece comes with a tradition. We all know how kids LOVE traditions–knowing the proper way to do things and the reasons behind why we do them. Bringing a sacrifice for the altar, washing at the laver before entering the tent, burning incense, placing 12 pieces of bread on the table, lighting the menorah…it all has meaning, centered upon being ready to meet God.

There are different approaches to this lesson that teachers can take. Of course we can all go through a study of each of the steps of getting ready and the tools mentioned above to help them get ready.  Many churches still use several of these today. Are there any that we use? Are there new ones not included with the tent?

We can also think about how we get ready to do different things in our lives–to go places that are important to us, for example.  How do we get ready to hear our Godly Play stories? Why is that important? How do we get ready to be with God? What do we do? How exactly do the routines we do help us get ready? Can we practice getting ready to be with God when we’re at home too? How would we do that?

One thing that the Godly Play script doesn’t highlight which you may want to include is the idea that all the people of God were invited to give something of their own to creating the tent of meeting–not just jewelry or fabric or wood, but their own craftsmanship. It was created by the people of God, for God.

Ideas for Art Response Time

This story is practically BURSTING with ideas for little hands–and big ones too!

I can easily see the activity time for this story beginning this Sunday, but continuing at least one other Sunday. Soon we’ll do the Ark and the Temple, so the work could easily continue with that story too.

Here are some that I came up with to add to your own. (And please, do feel free to write a comment to share your own ideas!)

Children might like to make their own collection of getting ready pieces like a menorah, an incense holder, a laver, an ark. They could make tiny pieces with clay or boxes or pieces of wood or whatever materials we have.
Or they could spend more time on making individual pieces. The menorahs above are made from a big clay “worm” in which popsickle sticks (which have been colored with crayons) are inserted. Sequins and beads have also been pressed into the clay.
Here are some websites with more great ideas and directions:
How to make a potato menorah:
www.jewishappleseed.org/apple/potatomenorah.htm
How to make a menorah from clay:
www.familyfun.go.com/crafts/clay-menorah-666608/

Of course our children will come up with more creative ideas than we can!

Some things to ask them:
How could we make a laver?

What do we have in our classroom which might make a good altar?
A table for the 12 slices of bread?
An ark of the covenant? How about decorating a box with gold wrapping paper for the ark?

What about the poles that carry it?
(Wouldn’t it be fun to light some incense and see what it smells like?)


If we’re going to make all those pieces, why not make a tent of meeting in which to put them?
A table turned on its side could give us the framework.

There are a few tablecloths folded up in the art supply room to serve as the tent fabric.

What if we brought blankets from home? We could even have a four layer tent, much like the tent is described in the Bible.
Once the tent is made, we could put all the pieces we created inside it. How would we separate the Holy of Holies?

Or we could make a small tabernacle out of cardboard and fabric.

There’s so much to think about. I can’t wait to see what your classes create! If you take photos, please share them with me. I’d love to add them to the parent newsletter!

Have fun, y’all! And for more ideas, including snack ideas for the lesson, see my Pinterest page on the story, here.